Site Launch: Hike New Jersey

Hike New Jersey - 2009

A little while back I mentioned that I had reclaimed an old domain of mine and was looking for something to do with it. It took about two months to pull the free time together to design and build it, but I’ve just relaunched the site: Hike New Jersey.

There are already a few great sites for trail information, milage data and directions, so I stuck with the premise of the original site from back in the late 90s and hope to inspire New Jerseyans to get out and see their local parks as much as to inform.

The Technical Notes

With the rare freedom of building a site for myself I embraced the opportunity to experiment with a few CSS3 features. With fallbacks where appropriate — and without where I didn’t feel them necessary — the site uses properties like text-shadow, box-shadow, rgba() colors and a few other tricks.

But not all the tricks are targeted only at the bleeding edge. The layering of transparent background images will work in most anything you try.

The backend was simple as well. Not wanting to turn a side project into something that feels like work its a fairly simple WordPress install with templates formed from the Sandbox theme.

Still a Work In Progress

As much as the new site is a constant work in progress, CSS3 support in browsers is as well. While working with the layout model and box-shadows I found some interesting things in all browsers in how they deal with and clip the space taken up by the shadows. Firefox 3.5 had a few extra quirks with the interaction of margins, shadows and outlines. Look for a future post coming from me after re-reading the specs and writing up some test cases.

The Secret Lives of Insects

The Secret Lives of Insects from Chris Casciano on Vimeo.

I spent Labor Day afternoon on a 7 or 8 mile hike of some local trails, exploring areas of the park I don’t normally get to. During the hike, while still in the South Orange area of the park, I passed a really busy tree. It was snack time for a wide variety of insects from ants to flys, bees and wasps.

Video shot with a Nikon D90 & Nikon 105mm 2.8 VR, though I shorted and recompressed it a little, its otherwise straight out of the camera.

View HD version of the video at Vimeo

48 Hours of Maplewood

the boy, from the 48 hours of Maplewood set

View Slideshow

In the vein of events like 24 Hours of Flickr and Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk a local photographer recently used Flickr and other local web sites to organize 48 Hours of Maplewood, an event where people in town were asked to go out on a nice summer weekend and document their suburban New Jersey neighborhood.

It was a weekend of hot, harsh sun, but I took a few walks around town and found myself focusing on two common subjects for me — signage and typography and the stuff people have on their suburban lawns.

This Sunday, August 30, 2009 2 – 5pm some of the photographs from 48 Hours of Maplewood will be show at an exhibition at 1978 Springfield Ave, Maplewood. You can also view many of the contributed images at the official Flickr group.

Cruise Night

Each Monday night throughout the summer a local car club gets together at the Galloping Hill Inn hot dog stand to show off their cars and hang out with other car enthusiasts. These photos were taken last Monday night.